Friday, December 7, 2007

Danny's First Post-SYTYCD Performance

What a holiday treat for dance fans! Danny Tidwell will appear with international stars Carrie Imler and Rasta Thomas in performances of The Nutcracker, with the San Elijo Dance and Music Academy at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido, December 21-23 2007.

Together, beautiful dancers, a live orchestra, spectacular sets and gorgeous costumes light up the stage as this magical, grand-scale production of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker comes to life. San Elijo’s sixth annual Nutcracker production promises to be a heart-warming and memorable event for the entire family! Ticket prices range from $18.50 to $42.

More info and tickets here. Note: Danny will only appear in the 2 evening performances. Full press release after the jump.

Thanks to Rebecca and Loralyn for contributing to this report.


Tchaikovsky’s THE NUTCRACKER
California Center for the Arts, Escondido
December 21- 23 2007
Evening performances on Dec 21 & 22 at 7:00 pm
and a matinee performances Dec 22 & 23 at 2:00pm

Principal Guest Stars: Carrie Imler, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Rasta Thomas, and Danny Tidwell from FOX’s show “So You Think You Can Dance.”

Accompanied by the San Diego Civic Youth Orchestra

Directors Lauri-Michelle and Benjamin Houk announce that San Elijo Dance & Music Academy will perform a magical, grand-scale production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido running December 21 through the 23. Evening performances on December 21 & 22 at 7:00 pm and a matinee performances December 22 & 23 at 2:00 pm. San Elijo Dance and Music Academy is proud to perform their sixth-annual Nutcracker this December with international guests stars Carrie Imler, Principal Ballerina, Pacific Northwest Ballet: Rasta Thomas, International Star; and Danny Thomas, FOX’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”

History of The Nutcracker
This famous play began life in 1816 written by the German writer E.T.A. Hoffman. The play was entitled “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and it was a tale of an unhappy girl named Marie whose only love is a nutcracker doll. The play was adapted in 1845 by famed French novelist Alexandre Dumas, who made the play more suitable for children. In 1891 the cheerier version of the ballet was chosen as the basis of a Russian ballet to be scored by Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky and choreographed by Marius Petitpa and Lev Ivanov The original ballet opened in St. Petersburg on December 17, 1892. The ballet is the tale of a girl named Clara who is given a nutcracker doll for Christmas by her godfather, Drosselmeyer. That night she falls asleep and is disturbed by an attack of mice led by the Mouse King, who wishes to take her away to his kingdom. She is rescued by soldiers of the Nutcracker who, as a prince, takes her to his land, a country full of sugarplums and waltzing flowers. She awakens the next morning with only the doll and memories of her Christmas adventure.

International Guest Stars Performing

San Elijo Dance and Music Academy is presenting international guest artist Carrie Imler, Principal from Pacific Northwest Ballet , Rasta Thomas, and Danny Tidwell from FOX’s show “So You Think You Can Dance.” will be performing the principal roles.

Carrie Imler
Carrie Imler is from Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She trained on scholarship at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet and Pacific Northwest Ballet School and attended summer courses at the School of American Ballet. She joined Pacific Northwest Ballet as an apprentice in 1995. In 1996, she was promoted to corps de ballet. She was made a Soloist in 2000 and Principal in 2002.

Ms. Imler has danced leading roles in George Balanchine's Apollo, Ballet Imperial, Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet, Chaconne, Concerto Barocco, Diamonds, Divertimento No. 15, The Four Temperaments, La Valse, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Titania, Hippolyta), Rubies, Serenade, Stars and Stripes, Symphony in C, Symphony in Three Movements, Theme and Variations, Stravinsky Violin Concerto, Western Symphony, and Who Cares?; Val Caniparoli's The Bridge, Lambarena, and Torque; Nacho Duato's Jardí Tancat; William Forsythe's In the middle, somewhat elevated; Ronald Hynd's The Merry Widow (Hanna) and The Sleeping Beauty (Aurora, Lilac Fairy, Gold and Silver pas de trois); Peter Martins' Fearful Symmetries; Kevin O'Day's Aract; Kirk Peterson's Amazed in Burning Dreams; Marius Petipa's Le Corsaire Pas de Trois, Don Quixote (Kitri), and Paquita; Kent Stowell's Carmen, Carmina Burana, Cinderella (Fairy Godmother), Coppélia (Dance of the Hours, Dawn), Delicate Balance, Dumbarton Oaks, Firebird, Hail to the Conquering Hero, Kammergarten Tänze, Nutcracker (Clara, Flora), Poème St. Saëns, Quaternary, Silver Lining, Swan Lake (Odette/Odile), and The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (Juliet, Lady Capulet); Richard Tanner's Ancient Airs and Dances; Lynne Taylor-Corbett's Mercury; Paul Taylor's Roses; Glen Tetley's Voluntaries; Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs; and Rudi van Dantzig's Ginastera. She originated leading roles in Nicolo Fonte's Almost Tango and Christopher Stowell's Zaïs.

Ms. Imler danced in the BBC's 1999 film version of PNB's production of Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream, filmed at Sadler's Wells Theatre, London. She was also featured in the PBS documentary about Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Children with a Dream

Carmina Burana, Cinderella (Cinderella), Coppélia (Swanilda), Duo Fantasy, Firebird, Hail to the Conquering Hero, Palacios Dances, Pas de Deux Campagnolo, Quaternary, Silver Lining, Swan Lake (Odette/Odile), and The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet (Juliet); Lynne Taylor-Corbett's The Ballad of You and Me, Mercury, and The Quilt; Glen Tetley's Voluntaries; and Twyla Tharp's Nine Sinatra Songs. Kent Stowell created Dual Lish for Ms. Pantastico in 2004. She also originated leading roles in Dominique Dumais' Time and other Matter, Paul Gibson's The Piano Dance and Christopher Stowell's Quick Time and Zaïs.

Ms. Pantastico was featured in the BBC's 1999 film version of PNB's production of Balanchine's A Midsummer Night's Dream, filmed at Sadler's Wells Theatre, London. In 2004, she performed the second movement of Balanchine's Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet as a guest artist for New York City Ballet's Balanchine Centennial.

Rasta Thomas

Born in 1981 in San Francisco, California, and raised in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Rasta Thomas studied at the Kirov Academy in Washington, D.C. Considered a prodigy by the Kirov’s former director Oleg Vinogradov, at the age of 12 he was featured in a Russian television special, STARS OF THE KIROV BALLET.

Mr. Thomas, age 13, made dance history by becoming the youngest recipient of the Jury Prize at the 1994 Paris International Dance Competition; age 15, was awarded the Junior Gold Medal at the 1996 Varna International Ballet Competition; and at age 16, won the coveted Senior Gold Medal at the 1998 Jackson International Ballet Competition.

In 1995 Mr. Thomas became a member of Le Jeune Ballet de France, and in 1997 was invited by the Hartford Ballet to be a Principal Artist. Since then he has appeared as a guest artist with such prestigious companies as the Kirov Ballet, Imperial Russian Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Washington Ballet, Victor Ullate Ballet of Spain, Beijing Central Ballet, Inoue Ballet of Japan, Universal Ballet of Korea, Alonzo King's Lines Contemporary Ballet, Complexions, Orlando Ballet, Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, Pacific Northwest Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and K-Ballet.

In addition to guest appearances at major national and interntional festivals, Mr. Thomas was the subject of a Bravo television documentary in l997. Additional television appearances include CBS Breakfast with the Arts, and a featured performance at the 1999 televised Academy Awards, choreographed by the one and only Debbie Allen. Mr. Thomas has also starred in Ms. Allen’s musicals PEPITO'S STORY, SOUL POSSESSED, and PEARL.

In 2000 Mr. Thomas was featured in an international GAP advertisement. In November 2000 Mr. Thomas headlined, directed and produced a full evening’s dance presentation in Japan, which was nationally televised and received critical acclaim. Mr. Thomas is featured in the motion picture ONE LAST DANCE starring Patrick Swayze.

Mr. Thomas' repertoire includes DON QUIXOTE, GISELLE, SWAN LAKE, NUTCRACKER, LE CORSAIRE, Roland Petit’s LE JEUNE HOMME ET LA MORT, George Balanchine’s AGON, APOLLO, TARANTELLA, SERENADE, STARS AND STRIPES, THE PRODIGAL SON, FOUR TEMPERMENTS, Michael Smuin’s ST. LOUIS WOMAN and SONG FOR A DEAD WARRIOR, Geoffrey Holder’s FIREBIRD, Sir Fredrick Ashton's THAIS, Michel Fokin's LE SPECTRE DE LA ROSE and CHOPINIANA, Lar Lubovitch's OTHELLO, LITTLE RHAPSODY and ELEMENTAL BRUBECK, Jerome Robbins' FANCY FREE, Ulysses Dove's DANCING ON THE FRONT PORCH OF HEAVEN and RED ANGELS, Richard Moves ACHILLES in addition to works by Kirk Peterson, Roger C Jeffrey, Vladimir Angelov and more.

In January 2005, Mr. Thomas made his Broadway debut in the leading role of “Eddie” in the Twyla Tharp/Billy Joel hit musical MOVIN’ OUT. Mr. Thomas performed the role of “Eddie” on the national and Japanese tour of MOVIN’ OUT throughout the 2006/07 season.

In 2007 Mr. Guested with American Ballet Theatre and became a Guest Artist with Japan's premier ballet company K-Ballet. He is currently directing his company BAD BOYS of DANCE and seeks to make it the premier male dance company of the world. A critically acclaimed classical and contemporary dancer; martial arts master; gymnast; and director, Mr.Thomas is a cutting-edge performance artist who continues to push his artistry to a new dimension. Rasta Thomas is, indeed, one of the most gifted artists of his generation.

Danny Tidwell
Danny Tidwell (Virginia Beach, VA) started dancing at Denise Wall’s Dance Energy under the direction of Denise Wall and Vicky Cooke. At 15 he was invited to study classical ballet with Vladimir Djouloukhadze and Anatoli Kucheruk at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington DC. While his time boarding, he performed principal roles in original shows created by Debbi Allen. Dreams and Pearl Were performed at the, Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

In 2001, Mr. Tidwell won the Second Prize at the International Ballet Competition in Shanghai, China 2002, received the Silver Medal at the Jackson International Ballet Competition.
Danny joined American Ballet Theatre’s, Studio Company in the fall of 2002. In may 2003 he joined ABT’s Corps de Ballet. Tidwell had the opportunity to perform many leading roles, classically in the repertory. Including roles like, Spectre de la Rose, and Peasant pas de deux from Giselle. Along side contemporary works, by choreographers: Nacho Duato, Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe, Kirk Peterson and Robert Hill.

In 2005, Mr. Tidwell was featured as Dance Magazine’s 25 to Watch and Pointe Magazine's TOP 10 VIP. In May, Danny worked alongside with choreographer Lauren Adams on the show Moving Still. These same concepts were also published in a photography book, Moving Still, a life performance, photographed by and Laurent Alfieri.

August 2005, Danny was a guest teacher for American Ballet Theater's, program in Bermuda. Continuing his works in the education of dance. Tidwell, now on faculty for JUMP, has also been invited to guest teach at programs, and schools across the country.

Danny Tidwell with partner David Benaym Co-Founded Movmnt Magazine. June 2006 this new publication launched it's first issue. Movmnt is a pop- culture magazine with dance and music as a lifestyle. movmnt hits newsstands quarterly.

This 22 year old guest artist, was featured in prestigious gala's in spring and summer of 2006. Classical and contemporary, the opening ceremonies of the USA IBC in Jackson, MS, was a highlight for the summer.

Tidwell also performed October 2006 as Principal Dancer in La Gioconda at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
In December 2006, Danny performed with Debbie Allen Dance Academy in Los Angeles the acclaimed Broadway like show "The Bayou Legend".

Danny Tidwell has worked with several companies and continues to collaborate creatively.

Civic Youth Orchestra
For 50 years, Civic Youth Orchestra has provided excellence in orchestral training to the area’s gifted young musicians. The Civic Youth Orchestra, a non-profit organization, provides young people with the opportunity to study and perform the world’s great orchestral works under the guidance of experienced teachers and conductors. The program includes an intermediate orchestra, an advanced intermediate ensemble, a beginning string ensemble, primary string orchestra, a wind ensemble and a full symphony orchestra. Practices are held at Palomar College in San Marcos and the Civic Youth Orchestra provides special performance tours every two years for its symphony orchestra students. The 2006 Symphony Orchestra tour took the ensemble to Stockholm, Sweden, Helsinki, Finland and St, Petersburg and Moscow, Russia.

For the past thirteen years, Civic Youth Orchestra has been proud to feature winners of the San Diego Music Teachers Association Annual Concerto Competition at the final concert of the year. This tradition has become a valuable music experience for both orchestra and soloist. Under the direction and guidance of its board of directors, the organization continues to grow, filling a substantial void for music students in North San Diego County. Over the years, CYO ensembles have been acknowledged as among the most outstanding youth orchestras in California and the U.S.A. The CYO tradition of excellence in ensemble education continues under the leadership of an outstanding musical staff. For more information, please call 760-715-4448.

Interviews Available
Carrie Imler, Rasta Thomas, and Danny Tidwell will be available for interviews upon request. Photos included in the press release will also be available at the Nutcracker website:

Directors Lauri-Michelle & Ben Houk
Lauri-Michelle Houk completed her training as a full-time student at the prestigious School of American Ballet in New York City. At 18 she joined the Chicago City Ballet where she was featured being coached by Maria Tallchief in the PBS documentary Balanchine’s Ballerinas. From 1987-94 Lauri-Michelle danced for the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle where she performed a full repertoire of soloist and principal roles. She performed with Nashville Ballet as a principal dancer in 1997-98. She excelled in the utmost of roles including the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker and Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. Most recently she has been a very effective teacher and private coach, and has staged several ballets including works by Stowell, and Petipa.
Benjamin Houk began his career with Joffrey II and later joined the Pacific Northwest Ballet where he performed as one of their most beloved principal dancers for thirteen years. Adept at both contemporary and the great classical roles, he performed in a wide range of works by Balanchine, Baryshnikov, Stowell and Fosse’s Anne Reinking among others. As Artistic Director, Mr. Houk led the Nashville Ballet (1996-98), and Fort Worth Dallas Ballet (1998-2001). Thoroughly experienced in Arts in Education programs as director and lecturer, he has enthralled over a hundred thousand children around the country. He has also served as a guest lecturer for among others, Vanderbilt University, Microsoft, and for The Kennedy Center’s Imagination Celebration, and has served on as a grants panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts. Mr. Houk has enjoyed popular and critical success on three continents as a choreographer, in over 25 works including Nutcracker, and Shout, and has performed in musical theater, film and TV including PBS’ Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Lauri-Michelle and Ben have enjoyed many performances as guest artists, including in the San Diego area, and most notably together at the Edinburgh Festival. They have taught extensively as master teachers at ballet and modern dance companies, schools and universities. Seven years ago, they founded San Elijo Dance Academy, which has grown to be the preeminent academy in San Diego North County. Former students have gone on to the most prestigious schools and companies including SAB, NYCB, ABT, PNB, SFB and Julliard.
The Nutcracker at California Center for the Arts, Escondido
Together, beautiful dancers, a live orchestra, spectacular sets and gorgeous costumes light up the stage as this magical, grand-scale production of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker comes to life. San Elijo’s sixth annual Nutcracker production promises to be a heart-warming and memorable event for the entire family! Ticket prices range from $18.50 to $42. Discounts are available for children under 12, seniors, and groups of 15 or more. To order tickets from the California Center for the Arts, Escondido box office, call 800-988-4253 or visit